Fort Calgary news

Moderator: newsposter

Fort Calgary news

Postby newsposter » Sat Aug 12, 2006 10:16 am

This thread is for news on Fort Calgary and associated Deane House and Hunt Cabin. Thread last updated October 2012


Herald Editorial on Hunt Cabin
Planning ahead to save our past
City taking a renewed interest in historic Hunt House
Published: Monday, August 14, 2006 ... d4b311f14a

Log cabin hints at city's beginnings
Crumbling Hunt House to be restored
Suzanne Wilton, Calgary Herald
Published: Sunday, August 13, 2006 ... 7a&k=80861

Calgary's oldest link to the past is a fading storage shed
Last Updated: Friday, August 11, 2006 | 3:46 PM MT
CBC News ... house.html

A recently uncovered photo has proven that a rundown shed tucked among the bushes in an Inglewood backyard is Calgary's oldest building.

Hunt House is behind Fort Calgary's Deane House restaurant on 9 Avenue.

A photo has confirmed suspicions that the cabin was part of the Hudson's Bay fur trading post, sitting exactly where it was built back in 1876.

"It was pretty exciting when we saw this picture," said Sara Gruetzner, head of Fort Calgary, on Thursday.

"The Hunt House, as far as we know, is the oldest building in Calgary, in its original location."

Hunt House in 1968 with owner William Hunt.
(Glenbow Museum)

An employee of Fort Calgary heard about the photo and tracked it down to an amateur historian in the community of Monarch about a year ago.

Now that the connection between the Hudson's Bay company and Hunt House has been established, Fort Calgary has begun to concentrate on preserving the Calgary landmark.

ImageHunt House in 1910.
(Glenbow Museum)

As part of a $15-million plan to pump new life into the Fort Calgary lands, Hunt House will be restored and given a protective cover.

"I think most people in the rest of Canada see Calgary as all new, and with no heart or soul, no past. I think projects like this help to dispel that myth," said Gruetzner.

The boards, paint and wallpaper all have a story to tell, one that dates back to Calgary's origins, said Lorne Simpson, a conservation architect.

Built on the east side of the Elbow River around the same time as Fort Calgary, the cabin was home to a Hudson's Bay Company official.

William Hunt lived in the house until the mid-1970s when he willed the property to the city. It has sat, untouched, as a storage shed for the last 30 years.

Fort Calgary staff suspected its origins dated back to the Hudson's Bay Company, but couldn't confirm it until finding the photo.


Reviving a Calgary artifact

Neglected cabin is oldest known house in the city ... =33324&p=2

* * * * Brian Hutchinson, National Post
Published: Thursday, August 10, 2006

CALGARY - It's just a faded, wooden cabin. I stumbled upon it this week, purely by chance, while trying to escape this city's noisy construction and demolition boom.

Calgary becomes less familiar by the month. I grew up here in the 1970s, when the population was less than half its present level over one million. I still like exploring the city's oldest neighbourhoods, especially the historic, slightly mysterious sections just east of the downtown core. But nothing remains the same.

Most of the brick and wood-frame houses are gone, or going soon, to be replaced by condo towers, casinos, parking lots.

The existence of the faded, wooden cabin took me by surprise. I'd never noticed it before. It's hidden among some poplar trees, across the Elbow River from Fort Calgary, a historical interpretive centre.

The place is made of logs, invisible from the exterior thanks to the warped and peeling shingles that cover the entire structure. The cabin seems to tilt; indeed, it is sinking into the earth. An ugly slab of plywood serves as a front door. Windows are boarded up. It looks derelict and has obviously sat empty for decades.

Nailed to one shabby exterior wall is a plaque. The cabin, I discover, is called Hunt House. It was built in 1876, just one year after the original Fort Calgary was established by the North-West Mounted Police.

For this city, 1876 is ancient.

There's no mention on the plaque of how Hunt House acquired its name, or what purpose it had served. For all I could tell, it might have been a garden shed. But there is a phone number. I place a call.

Soon I'm speaking with Sara Gruetzner, Fort Calgary's President and CEO. "Hunt House is a real gem, but no one knows it's there," she says. "It just sits there."

This forlorn shack is actually the oldest known residence in Calgary, she says. As such, it's among the city's most significant buildings.

Hunt House has survived everything imaginable: the Great Fire of 1886, which wiped out most of young Calgary's emerging business district; several population and construction booms; droughts and floods; vandalism. Demolition. The fact it still exists is something of a miracle, the reason obscured by time and neglect.

Its origin was long misunderstood. A dozen years ago, the Calgary Herald referred to Hunt House as one of many "Metis shanties" that appeared when the NWMP's first brigade of greenhorn volunteers ended their great western trek, at the point where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet.

The Metis angle was conjecture. There was no archival material to explain the building's provenance. Most historians believed it had served as part of Calgary's original Hudson's Bay Company trading post, since it sat on land the company had first occupied. The theory seemed solid, but could not be proven.

All that changed a year ago, when employees at Fort Calgary learned of a photograph, taken in 1879 by British photographer William Henry Hook and promptly forgotten. A collector in Southern Alberta had acquired the negative; it showed the cabin, then three years old, sitting amongst other HBC dwellings on what was then bald prairie.

The HBC moved to a new location before the end of the 19th century. Eventually, every company dwelling on the original site was demolished. Every one, but Hunt House. Somehow, it was spared.

Ms. Gruetzner fills me in with whatever detail she has at her disposal. There's not much. The cabin originally belonged to one Angus Fraser, an HBC interpreter. The only other person known to have inhabited the place is William J. Hunt, a railway employee. He lived alone in the cabin from 1947 to his death in 1975, the year Calgary celebrated its centennial.

Mr. Hunt willed the cabin to the city, which then named it after him. There were no plans to restore the place, or even recognize it in any way. Hence its obscurity. "Some historical purists said it would be best to just let it sort of disintegrate," Ms. Gruetzner says.

Hunt House now belongs to Fort Calgary. Interest in the cabin has suddenly surged, thanks in large part to the discovery of William Hook's old photograph. Soon, a fundraising campaign will get underway; proceeds will be used to restore the cabin.

It's a grand cause, for what might seem an impoverished pile of logs and lumber. But Hunt House is important, an authentic artifact from another, more difficult era. It should be preserved and not ignored.
Last edited by newsposter on Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:49 am, edited 7 times in total.
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Fading 'in' a storage shed

Postby trailmix » Thu Aug 17, 2006 11:40 am

I'm thinking an article might more aptly have been entitled Calgary's oldest link to the past is "fading in" a storage shed.

While Hunt house is perhaps the oldest building standing in Calgary, John and Adelaide Glenn's house is still the oldest building in Calgary and still remains in a pile in a Fish Creek storage shed.

It's interesting that when this building is discovered there is much excitement and talk of restoring/saving this building, but when they decided to dismantle the John Glenn cabin there obviously wasn't much thought put in to it and now they are digging their heels in about not restoring it - it defies common sense.
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 7:03 pm
Location: Calgary

Postby newsposter » Sun Feb 10, 2008 6:55 pm

Fort Calgary assuming place as soul of the city. Story at link and below the image. ... d064b47fb3

Link to Fort Calgary's plan and capital campaign:


David Parker
Calgary Herald
Friday, February 08, 2008

Few cities of our size can pinpoint where their physical history began. But Calgary knows the exact location and the city owns all 15 hectares located on one of the most beautiful pieces of property downtown.

The land is secure and much has been done to create a place where people and history intersect, but it has not yet fulfilled its potential as a major historic site.

Fort Calgary president and CEO Sara-Jane Gruetzner and her board have put together a master plan that will maintain the historical integrity of Calgary's only national, provincial and municipal historic site, which will further develop the fort as a key element in the downtown open space plan and raise awareness of its significance -- to become hallowed ground, the soul of the city.

Gruetzner has been planning the opportunity to explore its role as the guardian of our history since she accepted her position with Fort Calgary in 2000.

A landscape architect -- also past-president of The Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and soon to be installed as a fellow -- Gruetzner came to Calgary from her native Newfoundland in 1992 to manage the city's Urban Park Master Plan.

One of her priorities is to restore the landscape as it was in 1875, but there is much more to be done. We are fortunate to have this open city park as the site was sold in 1914 to the Grand Trunk Railway. All but two of its 40 buildings, including a hospital, were demolished. Until the early 1970s, it was nearly forgotten but, thanks largely to the efforts of then-alderman John Ayer, it was purchased by the city for $1.9 million. A year later, the site was cleaned up and work began on the interpretive centre.

The land now includes a strip across the Elbow River where the 1906 Deane House stands and behind it is the Hunt House, Calgary's oldest building still in its original location, which Gruetzner recently discovered was the original Hudson's Bay post.

Plans call for renovation of the interior of Deane House and relocation of the parking lot to allow for more open space and a footbridge over the Elbow River to improve regional pathway flow.

At the northwest corner, the wetlands are under construction in an area that will include a Grand Trunk Railway interpretive exhibit. Renovations are also planned to add a second-storey gallery to the present interpretive centre.

Gruetzner has commitments from the city and the Calgary Municipal Land Corp. She's also hoping for Alberta and federal government funding. This fall, under co-chairmen Wilf Gobert and Jack Marshall and the full-time assistance of campaign co-ordinator Diane Reid, Gruetzner is looking to raise the necessary additional $6 million from the private sector.

With the development of East Village and the growth of Inglewood, Fort Calgary could become Calgary's Central Park.

- - -
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Postby newsposter » Mon Jun 09, 2008 1:48 pm

$33 million in improvements planned for Fort Calgary...

Herald story June 7 2008 ... ffeb14d287
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Postby newsposter » Fri Apr 09, 2010 11:43 am

Update to the Hunt cabin story from CBC:

April 8, 2010 ... funds.html
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Postby buffaloman » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:27 pm

Hey, Does anyone else know that the 2nd cabin in the old picture is the one at the Brewery!
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 7:41 pm
Location: Airdrie alberta

Postby newsposter » Mon May 16, 2011 10:38 am

Ayer remembered for saving Fort Calgary site
Freeway was planned for historic site

By Lea Storry, Calgary Herald May 16, 2011

Fort Calgary laid the foundations for Calgary, and former alderman John Ayer fought to have the historical site preserved. Ayer, who died May 6, is being remembered for his contributions to Calgary's heritage...
Full story: ... story.html
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Postby newsposter » Tue May 17, 2011 1:05 pm

Also see Naomi Lakritz column in May 17 Calgary Herald...

The gift of history is a lasting legacy
By Naomi Lakritz, Calgary Herald May 17, 2011

Read more: ... e2150b&p=2
Last edited by newsposter on Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Postby newsposter » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:19 pm

$8 million to boost facelift for Fort Calgary
Three levels of government provide funds
Sherri Zickefoose, Calgary Herald
Published: Monday, July 02, 2012

An $8-million boost for historic Fort Calgary will go toward significant expansion and restoration plans long in the works. The joint funding from all three levels of government was announced Sunday during bustling Canada Day celebrations on the grounds of Fort Calgary. The city is finally spending $2.1 million earmarked in 2005 for Fort Calgary's $21.3-million expansion of its interpretive centre celebrating the birthplace of the city...

Plans to expand and improve the site, which have been in the works for a decade, are expected to begin next summer (2013). The public will get a glimpse of the blueprints by fall (2012)... Plans call for a multi-storey interpretive centre offering visitors a 360-degree bird's-eye view of the historic site. Funds will be used to restore the only remaining original buildings: the NWMP and Hudson's Bay Company trading post. Restoration of the popular Deane House, built in 1906, and the smaller Hunt House from 1876, is also planned. Replicas and interpretive exhibits of the 1875 fort and the 1914 Calgary Barracks will also be recreated...

Read more: ... 28f63f190c

Celebrating history
By Blane Hogue (E.D. of Lougheed House), Calgary Herald July 5, 2012
Re: "$8 million to boost facelift for Fort Calgary," July 2.

This funding from three levels of government is a wonderful step forward for Fort Calgary... This funding announcement sends a signal that perhaps we are experiencing the growth of consciousness of our history, which is the sign of a maturing city that has up to now torn down most of its past...

Read more: ... z25XfGYQvn
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Postby newsposter » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:45 am

Fort Calgary plans massive makeover by 2015
By Annalise Klingbeil, Calgary Herald September 29, 2012

When Fort Calgary’s multi-million dollar expansion is completed in 2015, a second storey will offer visitors a 360-degree view of the city. The new glass exhibit gallery will let visitors see Calgary’s ever-growing downtown skyline as well as all the sites on the historic property... The improved interpretive centre is one of several projects planned for the $21.3 million expansion of Calgary’s birthplace. A restored Hunt House and Deane House restaurant are part of the massive renovations along with expanded museum, meeting and school space...

Read more: ... z284g4Kggo
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Postby newsposter » Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:15 am

Fort Calgary has an Expression of Interest document out, looking for proposals to lease and operate the Deane House restaurant. ... EOI%20.pdf
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Re: Fort Calgary news

Postby Val Jobson » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:43 am

(Later Update June 21 4:52 pm): City workers are working on this berm at the Deane House, so they do not need volunteers for it, according to Alderman Carra:

(Update): I think they were building a berm but left because the water was rising, so don't go there without checking with or somebody

(See updates above): Today they are asking people to help at the Deane House, if you are near and can walk or bike safely there, and bring shovels & wheelbarrows if you have them. Road access is difficult so driving there may not be a good idea: ... 7398441984
Val Jobson
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:57 pm

Re: Fort Calgary news

Postby Fragile » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:27 am

Fort Calgary Master Plan
Phase One: Sod Turning Ceremony at the Deane House
850 – 9th Avenue SE, Calgary, T2G 0S2

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 @ 11:00 am

The Fort Calgary Master Plan creates a vision for the redevelopment of Calgary’s birthplace and celebration of Calgary’s early history. The plan outlines a physical and cultural transformation that positions the Fort in the rapidly changing communities of East Village and Inglewood.

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, the developer charged with delivering the infrastructure improvement program for Calgary’s Rivers District including East Village, has delivered (or is delivering) a variety of construction programs which directly benefit the Fort Calgary Master Plan. These construction programs include: RiverWalk (Phase lll), Elbow River Traverse, 6th Street Edges Program and the Stormwater Retention System.

Fort Calgary is very pleased to invite you to a sod turning on October 30th 2013 at 11:00 am that marks the beginning of Fort Calgary’s commitment to the plan. Phase One of the Fort Calgary Master Plan and the beginning of this very exciting “Make History” transformation include:

1. A full rehabilitation of the Deane House. The Deane House is the only remaining original North West Mounted Police building. Built in 1906, Captain Richard Burton Deane was the last serving Superintendent of Fort Calgary.

2. Restoration of the Hunt House – originally part of the Hudson’s Bay Company post on this site and built in 1876, the Hunt House is Calgary’s oldest building in its original location.

3. Extensive park development along the east side of the Elbow River. The park will integrate the Deane House and the Hunt House to the new Elbow River Bridge.

Representatives from the Federal, Provincial and Municipal government, Fort Calgary and Harry Sanders, Calgary’s first historian laureate will be part of the sod-turning ceremony.

For further information please contact:
Sara-Jane Gruetzner
President & CEO
403-290-1875 ext.225
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 9:47 pm
Location: Calgary/Victoria

Re: Fort Calgary news

Postby newsposter » Fri Feb 07, 2014 3:13 pm

The plans for redevelopment at Fort Calgary go to Calgary Planning Commission February 13, 2014. Here is a link to the CPC report: ... ect=1&sf=1
Posts: 1964
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:13 am

Return to News

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests